Challenger 2022 Seasonal Hiring Final Report
Published January 11, 2023
Fewest Seasonal Retail Jobs Added Since 2009
While many employers planned for an economic downturn to begin 2023, the labor market remains tight and the economy added a solid number of jobs to end the year. Despite this, Retailers added the lowest number of jobs in the fourth quarter since the fourth quarter of 2009, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Retailers added 98,000 jobs in December, the lowest December total since 2019 when 78,000 jobs were added. It is 24% lower than the 128,400 jobs added in December of 2021.
In the fourth quarter, Retailers added 519,400, 26% lower than the 701,400 jobs added in the same period in 2021. It is the lowest number of jobs added since 495,800 were added in the fourth quarter of 2009.
“Employers had a lot of challenges entering the holiday season. They needed to account for the possibility of inflation-related low spending, as well as whether they would be able to actually find the talent to fill positions,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
According to the BLS, 16,176,800 Americans are employed in Retail, the highest total for the sector since 2018, when 16,197,000 were employed. In 2018, Retailers added just 14,900 jobs in December.
“After years of attempts to recruit and retain workers, it is possible Retailers had the necessary staff going into the 2022 holiday season. It’s also very possible Retailers wanted to hire more, but couldn’t find the talent,” said Challenger.
Transportation & Warehousing Industry
Meanwhile, Transportation and Warehousing added 128,142 jobs in December, a 20% decrease from the 160,200 new positions added in the same month last year. For the holidays, the sector added 372,600 jobs, down 33% from the 552,300 added in Q4 2021.
Unlike Retail, however, total employment for Transportation & Warehousing is 6,861,000, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the BLS, the highest total for the sector on record.
Announced Large-Scale Seasonal Hiring Plans
Challenger tracked fewer large-scale seasonal hiring announcements in 2022 than in 2021. In total, companies announced just 597,600 hiring plans for the holiday season, a 38% decrease from one year prior.
“The lower number of seasonal positions indicate companies are playing it safe entering 2023,” said Challenger.
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